Day 22 – Travel with kids

23 Jan

As we are the first couple among our closest friends to have kids , we (or rather I – this ends up being a women discussion somehow. The guys I know who are in the process of thinking through a baby do not choose to talk about it at all , but the women  will if they are close enough to you) get pulled into discussions about how a baby changes travel. The disclosure here is that I am no expert on travel with a kid in tow either, but I am just here to share the little that I have learnt along the way . And hopefully make you realize that travelling with a child is just different and not really that horrendous. There is a certain science to it and really nothing beats seeing the world through your child’s eyes. For both me and the husbadoo, that simply makes the journey worthwhile.

So what really changes when you travel with a kid?

Schedules – So you obviously want to get the most of your sight seeing and major activities for the day done when your kid is in a good mood. And this is usually in the morning. So ideal scenarios are leave early to get the max out of your day. But we are not naturally early risers on vacation. So we prefer good breakfasts in the  morning , leisurely starts and a well fed, happy child instead. Sometimes Bandar will  nap on the go towards afternoon, sometimes she won’t.

Picking & choosing – If you were the kind of person, who wants to go on every hike the city has to offer, sometimes 3 a day , this is going to be an adjustment. We recently realized we can do one super fun hike with Bandar – about 2-3 miles for Bandar and an awesome lunch and then a restful activity like beach time. We cannot do back to back hikes like before. So we have to pick the one we absolutely want to do. Also you realize, there are some activities you take turns doing instead of as a couple – like surfing or snorkeling. The other parent gets to spend quality beach time with the child. For me, this is the biggest miss of all – I enjoy activities like snorkeling only with the husband , so that is a bit of a sacrifice till she is a little older.

Length of trips – We still do short trips, instead of longer ones as we do not mind skipping sights. But if you want to see every single thing and also have your child fairly happy each day, consider a few more days than you originally had planned.

The mix of activities – I do not think you absolutely have to find kid centered activities in each holiday to do. Some cities we do a zoo, in some we skip it altogether and do adult activities like cable car rides instead. We have realized the child doesn’t need a lot to be entertained. She is probably as excited about the zoo as picking stones on a hike.

The level of risk – Someone suggested overnight buses to us between 2 Malaysian cities recently. And another suggestion was a ferry ride – 4 hours long, to an island. Even without a child, I personally would pay more for comfort, speed and safety. And with a child, safety is perhaps the priority. So we flew, instead of various other modes of transport. We also rent car seats when it is advised.

Medical care – You never want to use medical care on vacation, but have your research done on where to go if you need it. We have a little ziplock of Bandar’s motrin, Tylenol , Benadryl and thermometer that goes with us EVERYWHERE. This also means you perhaps avoid stuff that might not make you sick but could make your child sick . Bandar swam with the husband in some secret reservoir in Langkawi and drank a little bit of the water too, which had us worried ! Ideally, she should not have been in the water in the first place. Nothing happened, but maybe we got lucky there!Oh and that was one of Bandar’s most favorite memories of the island!

Food – If your child is eating your kind of food by 1.5 years old, more power to you. For us, we still have to find kid friendly food places. Most cuisines accommodate us very well. Indian, Italian, Asian, Mexican all work well for us. When we travel internationally, I am a little hesitant to let Bandar eat every meal outside still, so we alternate between making stuff with a rice cooker in the hotel room for her, prepackaged snacks, fruit and some food outside.

Potty breaks – Yes, this is a big one. You always need to know where the closest potty is. Be aware of this and keep wipes and other essentials with you.

Drinking water – Keeping your child hydrated is a big one too. Especially being out for long hours.

Carrying your child around – I miss the baby carrier stage. We also never had the robust back pack carriers for hikes that you see muscled daddies use!Just google this if you don’t know what I mean. But these actually make outdoor activities so much easier. Strollers are good for the city scene. We alternate with the stroller and encouraging walking. The stroller is fabulous for a nap too.

Nightlife and other adult stuff – We are not night club people, so we don’t really miss this part at all. We also now are ultra cautious and avoid places like hookah bars and smoking areas of restaurants. We prefer the more family friendly locations. But again, we were a boring old couple even before we had Bandar, so go figure!

So there you have it, its not all terrible is it? The best thing you can give your child is experiences , so go ahead and book those tickets.

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2 Responses to “Day 22 – Travel with kids”

  1. srividhya January 23, 2016 at 11:00 am #

    Good one.. Its fun to travel with them.. We need to plan for Feb long weekend now

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